Nigeria: Why Buhari Queried FIRS Chief Fowler - Presidency

The presidency on Monday explained why it queried the chairman of the revenue agency, FIRS, Tunde Fowler.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the query sent to Mr Fowler by the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari.

In the letter, Mr Kyari asked Mr Fowler to explain why government revenue under Mr Fowler has always been less than projected revenue and why the revenue has dropped compared to what obtained under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr Fowler's response was expected on Monday. Presidential sources said he has responded to the query.

On Monday, however, the presidency explained that the query to Mr Fowler does not mean that he is being investigated.

"It would appear that the country might be heading for a fiscal crisis if urgent steps are not taken to halt the negative trends in target setting and target realisation in tax revenue," presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said in a statement.

Read Mr Shehu's full statement below.

Following reports making the rounds in some media outlets, it is necessary to state categorically that the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, is not under any investigation.

The letter from the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, on which the purported rumour of an investigation is based, merely raises concerns over the negative run of the tax revenue collection in recent times.

Taking a cue from today's (Monday) presentation of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Retreat for Ministers-Designate, Federal Permanent Secretaries and Top Government Functionaries , which dwelt on an 'Overview of the Policies , Programmes and Project Audit Committee,' a body he chaired, projected revenue of government falls behind recurrent expenditure even without having factored in capital expenditure.

Consequently, it would appear that the country might be heading for a fiscal crisis if urgent steps are not taken to halt the negative trends in target setting and target realisation in tax revenue.

Anyone conversant with Federal Executive Council deliberations would have observed that issues bordering on revenue form the number one concern of what Nigeria faces today, and therefore, often take a prime place in discussions of the body.

It is noteworthy and highly commendable that under this administration, the number of taxable adults has increased from 10 million to 20 million with concerted efforts still on-going to bring a lot more into the tax net.

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